On the ocean, some 3,500 miles from Les Sables-d’Olonne, the battle rages off Brazil between the leading boats, those of Charlie Dalin (Apivia), leader, followed by Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2). On dry land, on the other hand, and in front of their computer, the first competitors of the virtual race – Virtual Reggata – have just completed their world tour this Saturday at midday.
68 days, 22 hours and 16 minutes for the winner
It is Jean-Claude Goudon (Tigrou 26120), a former aeronautical engineer from Montélier in the Drôme, who crossed the line in the lead after an effort of 68 days 22 hours and 16 minutes.
The virtual skipper was one minute and 35 seconds ahead of a German competitor by the pseudonym of “Tournesol II” and Kerjouano, 3rd.
Over a million competitors including real skippers
Relying on a router that he himself developed, the Drômois consequently took the best out of nearly a million competitors entered in front of their screens, including many seasoned or professional skippers.
“There are real sailors against whom I fight: Le Cléac’h, Riou and other François Gabart. We are all finishing at the same time, said Loïck Perron at the microphone of Europe 1 in recent days, who is modestly aiming for a place in the top 10,000 classified. We have a lot of head start because virtual boats are theoretically not faster than real boats but the maneuvers are much faster. We do not particularly spend energy. We are making a little tighter trajectories. The state of the sea does not matter to us. It slows us down, of course, but we’re not going to feel it. “
The winner improved the time achieved in the previous edition by more than three days four years ago. The gap, only slightly greater than a minute, underlines the harshness of the race, which lasted more than two months. The first six competitors are held in less than a mile, while the first 130 have completed their journey in less than five miles.